This week, Ikea has opened its first city centre store in Paris. The Swedish chain has been experimenting with smaller store concepts for a while now, in order to respond to the growing competition from e-commerce - albeit with mixed results...
The new 5400 sqm store is located on the Place de la Madeleine, right in the centre of the French capital. Its surface is tiny by the chain's standards, as its stores are normally four times that size. The new outlet only displays 4,200 of Ikea's 10,000 references: everything else can be accessed through touch screens. 1500 products can be bought and taken along on the spot, the rest is delivered at home or a pickup point.
The Swedish furniture giant has been experimenting with smaller concepts for quite a while: some are even smaller than the current one in Paris, functioning more like service points. In these Planning Studios, customers can not actually buy anything, but they can have a custom kitchen or bedroom designed and have it delivered at their home. Ikea is testing that concept in London, Madrid and Stockholm.
These concepts are Ikea's answer to the changing habits and needs of today's customers, as well as the rise of e-commerce. "La Madeleine is an innovation test laboratory for us," says CEO Jesper Brodin. "We want to serve the people who know and love Ikea, but think Ikea is too far away."
If the test proves successful, more stores of the same type will follow, both in France and beyond. Earlier this year, Brodin also mentioned Brussels as a possible location. Whether it will ever happen is far from certain, as only last year Ikea closed three smaller stores in the Norwegian cities of Ålesund, Oslo and Tromsø.